The overall combat situation in Donbas remained under control of the Ukrainian military – even a short-lived ceasefire was observed in the combat area.
On January 22, Ukrainian army and pro-Kremlin armed militants exchanged accusations in the terrorist attack on a civilian bus on Sunday afternoon. One passenger was killed, another one was wounded. The Ukrainian side insisted the militants are responsible for the attack.
Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE's Special Monitoring Mission (OSCE SMM) in Ukraine, Alexander Hug, stated that the mission’s work term expires in March 2018. Hug added that the mission began its work even before the start of the conflict in the East of the country on March 21, 2014 upon the invitation of the Ukrainian side, and this decision was supported by 57 member countries. Since then, the change in the Mandate was only concerning the number of observers (increase), and the Minsk Agreements in no way affect the OSCE's activities.
On Tuesday, Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) published the record of the conversation between Russian PMC Wagner mercenaries’ head Dmitry Utkin and Russia’s Armed Forces general Yevgeni Nikiforov with a cover-name “Tambov’. This was reported by the SBU press service. Judging from the record, Dmitry Utkin and Yevgeni Nikiforov discussed the advancement of militants and military equipment of PMC Wagner to combat positions.
Ukrainian foreign ministry has been wondering if the ceasefire that took place was in any way related to the visit of Kurt Volker, the U.S. Special Envoy for Ukraine’s Affairs. Volker’s plane landed in Boryspil airport not far from Kyiv on Tuesday. Volker came to Kyiv for meetings with Ukrainian top officials, starting with President Petro Poroshenko. Besides, the U.S. envoy planned to visit Donbas; however, the asistant press attache of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine said this is unlikely to happen due to 'unfavorable weather conditions'.
The ceasefire in Donbas appeared to be over after one and a half days, and Russia sent another, 73rd ‘humanitarian convoy’ to the occupied territory in eastern Ukraine. According to the press service of Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russian Federation. "The cars carry more than 400 tons of goods, including children's food kits," the Russian ministry said.
Russian authorities have been sending the so-called humanitarian convoys to Ukraine since August 2014. The Russian side claims the trucks carry food, water, medicines, books, agrarian instruments and other necessities. Ukrainian border guards cannot check the contents of trucks, and Russia refused to send their humanitarian aid through the controlled checkpoints on the border, as requested by Ukraine. Ukraine insists there are weapons and ammunition aboard the trucks, so they reach Kremlin-backed militants that keep on attacking Ukrainian positions.
48th World Economic Forum opened in Davos with the topic ‘Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World’. Davos was to accept 2,500 guests from more than 100 countries of the world: representatives from business, political leaders, heads of the international organization, journalists and representatives of the civil society.
Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine arrived in Switzerland on January 24. He held a great number of meetings during the WEF. Firstly, Ukrainian President met Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel and discussed with him the free trade and deployment of the UN peacekeepers in Donbas. Also, the long-awaited meeting with Christine Lagarde, the IMF Managing Director took place. In the framework of the 48th annual session of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Poroshenko also held a meeting with Vice President of the European Commission for Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič. President emphasized that Ukraine was committed to continue reforming the energy sector according to its obligations within the Treaty establishing the Energy Community and the Association Agreement with the EU.
The next day of the forum Poroshenko and Alain Berset, the President of Switzerland discussed the return of the frozen assets illegally withdrawn by the former Ukrainian officials to Ukraine. Later, Ukrainian President held the negotiations with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. They coordinated efforts in terms of punishment for those behind the downing of MH17.
Moreover, Poroshenko delivered a speech on several important issues, including economic development of Ukraine and his plans for the running for presidency for the second term at the Ukrainian breakfast in Davos. Poroshenko also reported on the Ukrainian Army, its progress and importance.
It was expected that President Poroshenko and U.S. President Trump could meet within the World Economic Forum. Earlier Poroshenko invited Jared Kushner, the senior adviser of the U.S. President to visit Ukraine.
On the sidelines of the forum, the meeting of Pavlo Klimkin, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister and Ignazio Cassis, the Swiss Foreign Minister took place. The sides discussed activation of bilateral cooperation in trade and economics, humanitarian involvement of Switzerland in Ukraine, as well as cooperation within international organizations, in particular the Council of Europe. Also, the World Bank promised to continue supporting Ukraine in the reforms and creation of the independent anti-corruption court.
Finally, famous Klitschko brothers got a special award for 'Successful long-time promotion of the favorable image of Ukraine in the world' at the World Economic Forum in Davos. They were awarded at the 'Ukraine House Davos' where the discussion on 'How do sports form the personality of the future politician, entrepreneur or public figure?' with Klitschko brothers took place.
Last week was pretty remarkable for the Ukrainian film industry.
The first trailer of the Ukrainian film Kruty 1918 was released on Thursday. The film is based on the real events of 1918, when 400 students briefly halted the advance of 4,000-strong Red Army unit, as it marched towards Kyiv.
The trailer shows everyday lives of students who participated in the historical battle of 1918, their studying process and fragments of battle scenes.
On Jan. 26, it became know that Jean Reno will play in the Ukrainian-French film The Last Step, which is to be the last one in his career.
According to the plot, Henry is a wanted anonymous contract killer, who has peacefully retired and moved close to a remote lake in Canada. After an accident, a young woman finds shelter in his house. The man who had spent all his life murdering people, saves someone for the first time.
All the more reasons to keep up the good work!